Who is killing Palestinian children?

Palestinian children in Gaza are killed by Israeli bombs, so Jews are to blame. Palestinian children are used by Hamas as human protective shields, where they expect death, which will cause outrage in the world public. And that’s exactly what happens. Despite calls to evacuation by the Israeli army and warnings before the attacks, civilians are still near Hamas military facilities because Hamas does not allow people to leave these places. That is why Palestinian children are also killed by Palestinians. From Hamas. Who is more to blame – I don’t know. Nobody knows. There is no „fault meter”. We have a general compass that enables us to distinguish between those who have started the war and those who have had to accept it, and between those who strive for maximum destruction and kill as many representatives of an enemy nation or society as possible, and those who only destroy those who are extremely hostile to them. And their aggressive regime. The ideology and long-term practice of Hamas is clear: to murder as many Jews as possible. Not necessarily soldiers – only Jews. The German Nazis did the same. Israel, on the other hand, had a strategy and now it has a new one. The first option, which has existed since more than a dozen years, was to isolate itself from murderers and to carry out targeted retaliation after a terrorist attacks. This new strategy is now about taking actions to destroy the terrorist regime that prevails in Gaza and spread blood there, which both the Palestinians and Jews fall victim to. The world public felt neither special sympathy nor anger for the terrible massacre of Israeli civilians by the murderous Hamas command on October 7th. The world public expects the massacre of 1,400 innocent people to be answered with a targeted retaliation, just like hundreds of earlier, much more limited attacks by Hamas. In other words, the world public accept Hamas and even refuses to recognize it as a terrorist organization, although Hamas also terrorizes the Palestinians themselves.

In fact, the global public believes that Hamas’ rule in Gaza has something to do with the freedom of the Palestinian people – and succumbs to an unspoken claim that the Palestinians where Hamas rules are a freer nation than where the Palestinians are under Jordanian or Lebanese, Syrian or Jewish rule, and even living in the Palestinian Authority, which is partly controlled by Israel. The reason for this situation is probably that Gaza is the only place in the world where power is held exclusively by Palestinians. But it is a totalitarian power. However, in a world dominated by nationalism, this seems to be for most people secondary to “national freedom” in Gaza.

World opinion fundamentally does not give the Israelis the right to go to war in which they could potentially kill innocent civilians. Such a war could threaten security in the region and around the world. Consequently, world public opinion expects Israel to endure the killings committed by Hamas terrorists indefinitely and to expose itself to even more such killings by opening up the Gaza region, which has been isolated for years by Israel and Egypt.

Public opinion in Muslim and Western countries usually sees only a tiny part of the situation in the Middle East and therefore easily and indiscriminately points to the fact that the Palestinians are weaker and the Jews are stronger. And isn’t it the moral instinct of a sensible person to be on the side of the weaker? In this case, however, the weaker one has powerful supporters and sponsors who, fortunately, are at odds with each other, because if they joined forces, Israel would probably not be able to survive even a week. World public opinion is also supported by holy ignorance. Knowing almost nothing about Israel and Palestine, millions of Hamas supporters imagine the organization operating in an “occupied territory” that they are “liberating.” However, the majority, however knowing that Israel has long ago withdrawn from Gaza, considers the slogan of Palestinian national liberation of a „free Palestine from the river (Jordan) to the sea“, and therefore a slogan calling for the liquidation of the State of Israel, to be of ethical significance. There is probably no other country in the world that hundreds of millions of people around the world would like to see completely liquidated.

For Jews everywhere, this is the sad state of mind and conscience of most people in the West and the Muslim world. One sees how strong and massive prejudices against Jews are and how weak the human ability is to overcome these prejudices through rational ethical reflection. There is no other state or nation that has had to contend with mass hostility around the world, at the moment it was militarily attacked and is waging a defensive war. Even if the widespread hostility towards Israel on several continents, which often hides an anti-Semitism that is shameful for modern man, is well known, the events of the last few weeks have surprised and shocked the Jewish world and its friends. No one expected that a terrible pogrom could trigger an explosion of hatred instead of silencing the haters even for a moment.

Today we know that this hatred does not even seek appearances and that the slogan “Never again!” has not taken place in the hearts of humanity. The Holocaust is still possible, and there are incomparably more people who wish it to the Jews than all the Jews on earth together. One of the paradoxes of the situation of the Jews is that they are not a very numerous nation. There are 16, or 18 million of them. In any case, significantly less number than half of Poles or Ukrainians, for example. The world hates a small nation. If there were a quarter of a billion Jews, there would be probably more respect for them. Yet respect and hate are mutually exclusive. It’s easiest to hate something that is small but still seems disproportionately powerful and universally enviable. And Israel is a successful country and there is a lot to envy.

The ethics of war represents a very serious challenge to public opinion. It is a field of reflection that operates in conditions of cognitive dissonance and relies on a language that is completely inappropriate for the issues with which it deals. The most important dissonance is related to the radical evil of war and the guilt of killing, which always burdens all parties to the conflict, including those who have been attacked and are defending themselves. One of the horrors of war is that, in addition to killing and destruction, it also turns people into murderers and burdens them with terrible guilt. That’s just how it is. So, when we are forced to formulate moral assessments of actions committed in war, we must remember the shocking, extremely difficult to accept truth on which all ethical reflection on war must be based: crimes are committed by all parties to the conflict. When morally evaluating each of them, it must be assumed that the side that commits more crimes, strives to commit them, is not ashamed of them and is even proud of them, will be evaluated worse .

One must know a bit about the history of the Arab-Jewish and Palestinian-Jewish conflicts in order to apply these difficult measures to them. 

And finding it out is not easy, because almost everything we find in the media is not even biased, but simply copied from propaganda materials. However, “not easy” does not mean “difficult”. A minimum of independent thinking, intellectual experience and criticism allows you to select reliable sources of information quite quickly. Unfortunately, those who shout, “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,” are not the same people who would be willing to learn a little more or familiarize themselves with the special nature of the ethics of war. When dealing with these types of people, we can only resort to simple analogies. Let them at least bother to imagine that their country was invaded by a group of several thousand “militants” who murdered 1,400 of their countrymen. And what would the state of which they are citizens do then? Would it open the borders? would it ask for a ceasefire? Would they wait for the borders to be opened? Would it have to apologize for still being alive?

Many thanks to Andreas Szpilman for this translation!